Study: Pills Easier for Teens to Get than Beer

For the first time, more American teenagers said in a survey that it was easier for them to get prescription drugs than beer, according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

“For the first time in the CASA survey’s history, more teens said prescription drugs were easier to buy than beer (19 vs. 15 percent),” said a press release from the organization. “The proportion of teens who say prescription drugs are easiest to buy jumped 46 percent since 2007 (13 vs. 19 percent). Almost half (46 percent) of teens say painkillers are the most commonly abused prescription drug among teens.

As we covered in our Sunday story, “A Bitter Pill,” the medicine cabinet has become the new liquor cabinet. Joseph Califano, chairman and president of the center who was interviewed for a story in the Washington Post, said parents have become “passive pushers,” because they’re not doing enough to deter their own offspring’s access to drugs in their own homes.

9 thoughts on “Study: Pills Easier for Teens to Get than Beer

  1. Do you think it might have anything to do with parents giving their children mood-altering Ritalin or athletic performance enhancing supplements? How and when do you tell a kid that’s been taking Ritalin to modify their behavior their whole life, now you’re done. You’re cured. Prescription drugs are bad.

  2. Karen’s point is good. You tell the kid that the doc said she/he didn’t need the pills anymore and you flush them away AND you tell the teacher that if she has a problem…she should get help for herself….not your child.
    Sharon O’Hara

  3. Another point.
    Look at the teacher first, not the child.

    Perfectly normal kids with high spirit…especially boys… are drugged because the teacher has only girls and has no idea that boys are different from girls. The doc’s the teacher sends the child and parent to…go along with it…and prescribe the drug.

    Another thing…the parents grew up with their parents giving them every drug the TV says will solve problems. Hey… a pill will make a tummy ache go away… people believe it!

    Another thing – people buy medications that taste good to the child… what in heck do they think they are setting that child up for as adults? Good tasting medications will cure everything that ‘ails’ them…Hogwash!
    Sharon O’Hara

  4. I don’t mean to knock teachers again. I know many outstanding teachers but I DO suggest that some teachers may mistake natural exuberance from a child as a medical problem and want that kid drugged. What no one remembers apparently… the drug dosage is only the beginning. At some point the kids require stronger and stronger dosages… where does it end?

    To those who care… check how many students from each teacher are drugged.
    It may be that one or more teachers will have considerable more students drugged than the other teachers.
    Look into it parents before getting excited upon being told your child needs to be drugged.
    In my opinion… Sharon O’Hara

  5. Sharon,

    How would any parent “check how many students from each teacher are drugged”?

    Come on. Teachers don’t drug students. They may recommend to a parent that a child be seen by a doctor, but “drugging” decisions are between parents and a child’s doctor. I think you’ve gone more than a bit overboard here.

    Heavens, a teacher isn’t allowed to give a child any form of medication.

    Kathryn Simpson

  6. Kathryn… Sorry I wasn’t more clear and I am excluding children placed on mood-altering drugs before they reach school age.

    I make these comments in hope they might make a difference somewhere….that maybe just one child won’t be unnecessarily medicated.

    How would the parents check teacher class/student/drug ratio? Seems to me such a thing would be noted in each child’s school record. Wouldn’t the teacher know which students in the class are medicated?

    As a school board person I would have thought you of all people understood that physicians give the prescriptions…not teachers.

    I ‘meant’ teacher RECOMMENDED medications. That SOME teachers may RECOMMEND more students be medicated than other teachers.

    It might be interesting to note how many, if any, physicians refuse to medicate the teacher recommended student?

    “…parents giving their children mood-altering Ritalin…” (or others) are usually brought to the parent attention by the teacher. The parent THEN makes the appointment with the teacher recommended physician or their own pediatrician who is told the child and parents are there on the teacher recommendation. THEN the physician gives the parent a prescription for a drug that will make the child acceptable to the teacher.

    Later in the school year the child tells the parents the teacher told him he needs to see the doctor again – the dosage needs to be increased. He tells his parents that he can’t function in class without the medication.

    Funny thing the child might well have functioned fine until he entered the grade of the teacher who wanted the child drugged. If he was unnecessarily drugged, how many more students are unnecessarily drugged through a teacher recommendation?

    I would hope more parents will become aware of possible future dangers to their child if they unnecessarily medicate.

    Allowing children to believe they are only acceptable in a school classroom – anywhere – if they are drugged (unnecessarily) seems wrong to me. It must be horrid for a child to grow up believing they are only acceptable when they are drugged.

    As I see it… Sharon O’Hara

  7. the teen drug problem, i think, is correlated with the nations over all drug and alcohol problem. and just as the rock and movie star “idols” of our nation are glorified for it, drugs and alcohol use is looked at as the “cool” thing amongst the under 21 crowd. and with the trend of the decade being prescription narcotics its no wonder that the under age crowd have chosen prescription pain killers as the drug of their generation.
    so before we start blaming teachers and parents we step back and look at the big picture. and the one huge change I’ve noticed is the growing amount of prescription medicine commercials. i bet our children see more of these adds in a day than they would for any form of alcohol, and they would have to go down to the corner store to see whats left of tobacco advertisements, if any. and these blatant drug advertisements push the idea that popping a few pills will make everything better from your mood to your lack sexual endowment. so why not skip all the risks of conventional drugs and just head for the clean cheap and powerful stuff mom and dad keep in the medicine closet. i think we need to take a look at what were allowing the media to force feed our nations families before we start blaming one another.

  8. keeponkippin… You forgot to mention the parent’s of today’s children bought the highly advertised good tasting products for their children, for themselves.

    The ‘media’ isn’t ‘force feeding’ anyone…other than children. The parents can control what their children watch on TV and in computers…if they want.

    What are “clean cheap and powerful stuff” parents keep in their medicine chest? Colgate?

    Porn is one example of media and the fact is if it didn’t sell it wouldn’t be on the market.
    Adults are responsible for their children, not the media. Children are susceptible but they should have parents/adults to guide them and control their access to ‘media.
    Parents are supposed to ‘guide’ their children, not the media.

    Peer pressure to get involved in drugs is a problem many kids have and goes hand in hand with the lack of respect too many kids have toward administration and teachers.

    “…trend of the decade being prescription narcotics…” are you speaking of parents or kids?
    If true, a nasty side effect is the reluctance of doctors to prescribe pain pills to the folks who really need them….”…in case they get addicted”.

    Some years ago one doctor in town explained to a friend reluctant to use pain pills with the prescribed muscle relaxers that the muscles she had pulled in her back going over a jump without the horse can’t heal when she’s racked with pain and can barely move.
    She told me she only needed about two of the prescribed pain pills to begin to heal.

    No – take another look. It isn’t the media, it is us.
    My opinion…Sharon O’Hara

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